Canadian Senate Scuttles Single Event Sports Betting

Published Thursday, October 09, 2014 -
Canadian Senate Scuttles Single Event Sports Betting

Canada has been debating for some time now whether to allow offer single event sports betting. The efforts of the Windsor parliamentarian Joe Comartin who introduced the bill C290 in 2012 that would legalize single game wagers looks to have been sidelined by the Canada’s upper house of parliament the Senate.

The bill does require amending Canada’s criminal code. Recently Liberal Senator George Baker rose in the house to address his fellow unelected members of the Senate on C-290. Usually bills that are passed by the House of Commons with unanimous party support are rubber stamped by the Senate. Baker said that there was “a good chance this will be the first time in Canadian history that a bill passed unanimously in the House of Commons could be defeated in the Senate.”

Mr. Baker also pointed out how fast the bill was passed in the House of Commons was not in keeping with procedures generally followed. Baker offered up a Supreme Court of Canada ruling from April that stated the Senate should “never set itself in opposition to the deliberate and understood wishes of the people.” Baker questioned the rapid conditions under which the bill was passed, “on a Friday, in the afternoon, nobody is in the House of Commons … you would see maybe seven or eight [members], twenty a quorum, but it’s never called.”

Baker did however propose sending C-290 back to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs so that an amendment could be added requiring the law to be reviewed five years after passage. A big fence has been established by Baker with the adoption of his proposal to have C290 referred to the Committee.

Baker did mention a consequence of C-290 should it pass. Baker said,  “it’s not just the provinces that now control betting under the authority of the Criminal Code. It’s also First Nations. Once we make a change to the Criminal Code here, under section 81 of the Indian Act all First Nations will be able to make their own rules pertaining to this matter.”







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